This week saw the schools admissions release, meaning many of us found out exactly which school our little ones will attend in September.
It was an anxious wait, but it’s so important to realise that a child’s school is only one part of their education. In fact, the quality of a child’s education is determined by so many factors.
Children who are supported at home, who are spoken to around the dinner table, read to at bedtime and have parents who prioritise their education, will succeed regardless of what school they attend.
I know this may not be the most glamorous topic for this week’s blog, but it is something I feel really needs to be out there. Ultimately, the support you child receives outside of school really does matter and here are 5 reasons why:
Reinforcement Of Learning
Learning at home can reinforce what children learn in school.
For instance, if your child is learning a new math concept at school, practicing it at home can help them reinforce that concept and solidify their understanding.
It also allows them to experience the same concept in a variety of situations. For example, if your child’s school follows a specific Math’s scheme such as White Rose Hub or Singapore Maths, they are likely to experience much of the same activities and question types. By adding some home learning, children will be exposed to completely different styles and designs of activity, which allows them to apply their skills more practically and therefore deepen their learning and understanding.
Even prior to school, children who are given the chance to repeat the same skills in a range of situations (for example, in The Little Learning Hub, we have dozens of counting activities all with different themes and styles of working) are more likely to truly understand their learning concepts and therefore have better foundations for further learning.
Learning at home can be personalised to a child’s specific needs, interests, and learning style. This can help children to learn more effectively and efficiently.
While any good teacher will work hard to personalise their classes learning journey, it is virtually impossible to create 30 separate journeys within one lesson. Large class sizes mean children are often grouped together and experience the same instruction as their peers.
Thankfully, parents can tailor their child’s education to their individual interests, strengths, and weaknesses. This means, if (like me) you have a child obsessed with vehicles, you can introduce some addition and subtraction activities to meet that need. By doing so, your child is more likely to engage with their learning and succeed.
When children learn at home, they get to spend more quality time with family and friends. This creates a stronger bond between parents and children and helps to foster a love for learning.
If you look back on your own childhood, I would guarantee that some of your best memories are family experiences. For your child, this will be exactly the same.
They will have just as fond memories of sitting around the kitchen table playing a snap game you downloaded online as they will of an expensive day trip to the zoo. For them, it is all about spending time with you.
Life can be so hectic sometimes. I know I often feel as if I float around the house working on one ‘to do list’ item to the next. But, making a conscious effort to support your child’s learning at home means carving out time to actually sit together. For me, it is one of my absolute favourite parts of The Little Learning Hub. I appreciate the strong benefits to Arlo’s education, but more than anything, I love the time it gives us to spend together, playing and having fun. They are memories I know I will treasure forever.
Learning at home can help children develop essential life skills, such as time management, organisation, and responsibility.
These skills will be useful throughout their lives and can help them succeed in all aspects of life.
As I am writing this, one clear example jumps out to me. Arlo was sitting at the kitchen table recently working on a Little Learning Hub resource. It was a scribble art activity and he asked if he had time for one more as he could see I was beginning to plate up dinner. I explained dinner would be another 5 minutes and asked if he thought this was long enough. He debated for a moment, before deciding that it would be long enough, but only if he used the paint pens rather than the pencil crayons (they have much wider nibs so colour the paper more quickly).
This is a perfect example of how simple – but important – life skills are built while working at home. Arlo was able to problem solve, reason and find a solution that worked completely independently.
Other life skills include things like gardening, cooking and household chores, all of which will either not be covered in a nursery/school setting, or only touched upon through certain topics and subject areas.
Learning at home provides flexibility in both a child’s schedule and pace.
Over the years, I have taught children who need a ‘brain break’ (a rest from work) every five minutes and also children who could happily write all day and still sulk when hometime arrived! The great thing about working with your child at home is you can build a big picture on how they work best and apply this to all areas of their life.
For example, if you notice your child is able to focus for 5 minutes before becoming distracted, you can use this in other areas of their life too. You might encourage them to put their top, pants and trousers on, then take a break before attempting socks, shoes and jumper.
This is just one of the ways we can set our children up for success by truly understanding the way their mind works, but other things to consider include:
- time of day (do they work better in the morning/evening)
- before/after meal times, weather
- temperature in the room
- distractions (I find it really tricky to write when music is playing!) and so on.
Let’s imagine, you want your child to sign 10 thank you cards following their recent birthday party. If you had the answers to the above questions, you would know exactly the point in the day to catch them so their cards would be done without struggle and in their best writing. For me, I know I am the most productive after breakfast and in a slightly cold, quiet space. For you, it might be in the evening, in a warm comfy space. Trust me when I tell you that knowing this information about the children in your care, whether they are your own or ones you work with, open countless doors and windows to successful learning.
It also means, you can utilise dead time within your day. For example, if you need to sit in the car for twenty minutes while your younger child waits for their sibling to finish their violin lesson, this is the perfect place to fit in some learning (and bonding!) time.
I hope this post has shown you the importance of working with your child at home, but I wanted to end by saying that, although the impact parent’s have on their child’s education and success is enormous, it does not need to be daunting or time-consuming.
Whether you choose to use a structured done-for-you solution like the Little Learning Hub, or go it alone with your own ideas and resources, you can make a difference through simple and fun activities.
It doesn’t need to be complicated and you can both enjoy the entire process!